TOMS RIVER —When a Howell police officer tried to lure a supposed 15-year-old girl for sex by sending a picture through a personal ad, the detectives really on the other end of the exchange recognized him, according to a criminal complaint.

Sgt. Richard Conte was charged with second-degree luring or enticing of a child when he was arrested last Thursday. New Jersey 101.5 first reported on his arrest Friday citing public records, ahead of any announcement by law enforcement.

According to, the criminal complaint says Conte contacted a person he believed to be a 15-year-old girl on the "classifieds, dating and personals" website Doublelist.  During chats with the "girl" on DoubleList and Kik, Conte said she should pretend she was 18, the complaint reportedly says. He also allegedly said he wanted to "get naked" with her after arranging to meet with her.

Chief Andrew Kudrick told New Jersey 101.5 in a written statement that "as a police officer, but more importantly as a father of a 16-year-old, I'm repulsed by his conduct."

"It's a complete embarrassment to the men and women of this agency who loyally serve each day with professionalism and pride. He failed us all," Kudrick said.

The Howell chief said the department is continuing to look into Conte's conduct while he was on duty "to determine if he engaged in any prohibited or inappropriate activity." also reported Conte allegedly arrived at the agreed upon meeting place in his personal car, but drove off. He was arrested by Toms River police in Seaside Heights, and was found with condoms in his pocket, the complaint reportedly says.

Conte is being held in the Ocean County Jail pending an initial court appearance. The Howell Police Department reported at the time of his arrest that he had been suspended without pay.

In addition to working with the Howell department, Conte is also the head of the Monmouth County Emergency Response team.

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